John 1:40-51

August 31st, 2007 § 3

So this semester I decided to get a little Crazy and do a Greek independent study.  I will spend Many hours translating through the first several Chapters of John with notes and commentary and such.  Thats a little insane, but it could mean better posts on the topic here so here is one on the obscure Nathaniel and the Fig Tree…

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.   He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).   He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).   The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”   Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.   Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”   Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”   Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”   Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”   Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”  And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  

There are a few tings worth paying close attention to here.  First, do you see what Andrew did?  He heard John point out the Messiah, he not only followed this guy, but ran off to get his brother and told him to come to!  My first question for us is: are we that thrilled about the Messiah we have found?  I am not talking here about some revivalistic, guilt ridden evangelism.  I am simply wondering; are we so excited about the Messiah that we will seek out and find people to point him out to?  It was Andrew’s first act. 

Second we must note Peter’s new name.  Jesus names him “rock.”  What must that have felt like?  Your brother comes to you and says he found the Messiah.   You go over to meet him and he takes a good look at you and calls you by name, names your father, and then changes your name – to ROCK!  “Hi, Jesus, nice to meet you too.”  A little weird, maybe, but the important thing is that later this same man would fall on his face and recognize him as Lord.  But more on that later.

The real meat in this passage is found in Jesus’ interaction with Nathaniel.  Nathanial clearly had his prejudices about the region of Nazareth.  Just quickly let me ask, do you have any regional or ethnic prejudices?   Anyway, he doubted that anything worthwhile could come from Nazareth.  Jesus saw him coming and he called him an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.  Nathaniel must really have been known as an honorable man.  He doesn’t even flinch, but asks, “how do you know me.”  Jesus’ response causes Nathaniel to worship.  It must have been something else.  Jesus told him he saw him under the fig tree.  Seems kinda strange until you realize that this was a place of prayer.  Nathaniel was praying to Jesus.  I like to imagine that in his prayers Nathaniel was praying about deceitfulness, thus the whole conversation hits him even harder when he realizes that Jesus not only “saw him” but heard him as well. 

Jesus hears us to.  The God man who saw Nathaniel under the tree still sees us when we lie in bed, kneel beside it, drive in the car and pray to him.  He is the Son of God, the center piece of everything essential to God’s story. 

§ 3 Responses to “John 1:40-51”

  • Lyra says:

    I think you need to do this every morning. It can be my devotion for the day. Really good stuff!

  • mandy says:

    Yes, really good.

    Funny. I never thought about those prejudices, but I admit I have them. If it were me, I’d be betting Jesus wasn’t coming from Mexico. Nazareth…Mexico. whatever.

  • mandy says:

    How can I have prejudices about the country that introduced burritos into my life?
    That’s just ridiculous. They’re so good.